Chris Cornell: RIP
It is a very sad day for Rock and Roll. Chris Cornell has passed into the next life and it seems to be by his own hand. I didn’t know Chris and could not offer any insights into why he felt the way he did and why this had to be the course of action he took. I suppose one could look at his body of work and note how little overt joy there is in it. But I would have hoped that his music was more about observation then personal experience. This may not have been the case. What I can say is that his smart songs and powerful unique voice will be missed in this life. He was a true pioneer in Grunge and opened a new chapter in Rock as a thinking man’s art form at just the right moment in time. The excesses of the 80's had to be vanquished and he was easily one of the most important rock artists of that moment. He will be missed and remembered.
Here is a quick overview of his best work from my perspective and in a setlist sort of order:
1) All Your Lies: From the Soundgarden debut, Ultramega OK. For some reason unknown to me, Chris’ vocals have a higher pitch on the first two albums. Still, a fierce track.
2 Ugly Truth: From their sophomore album Louder Then Love. This was the kickoff number at Chris’s final show. A perfect opener.
3) Drawing Flies: A personal favorite from the third album Badmotorfinger.
4) Fell On Black Days: The first of two “black” songs from the forth album and Soundgarden’s commercial breakthrough, Superunknown.
5) Black Hole Sun: The one you heard everywhere back in 1994. The second “black” song from Superunknown.
6) Dusty: An interesting changeup from their fifth album Down On The Upside. Check out the Moby remix on an outtakes compilation.
7) Non-State Actor: A personal favorite from their final studio album, King Animal.
8) My Wave: Another personal favorite this time from Superunknown. A close run thing with Spoonman from that one for me.
9) Hunted Down: From Screaming Life. Soundgarden left a bunch of quality material off their official releases. Here is a great one that fell into the leftover category.
10) You Know My Name: Chris’ best known solo track from Carry On and the theme to the Bond reboot Casino Royal.
11) Doesn’t Remind Me: My favorite Audioslave number from Out of Exile.
12) Outshined: Played at Chris’s final show. This one or Burden In My Hand would have been the more apt closer but it actually was Slaves & Bulldozers. Of course, the best outcome should have been many more closers and encores and standing ovations…